Staff and Administration

Sara A. Bair, Bratenahl's Longest Serving School Superintendent

Sara A. Bair
Sara A. Bair

Sara A. Bair was born in 1883, the daughter of Thomas W. Bair and Elizabeth Sprout Bair.  On August 6, 1909, she was appointed to teach in the Intermediate Class at the Bratenahl School.  On July 8, 1913, Sara Bair became the third Superintendent of the Bratenahl School System.  She would continue to serve as Superintendent and Principal of the Bratenahl School for 35 years.

Throughout her years as Superintendent, Sara Bair continued to teach math at the school.  She is remembered as a disciplinarian who inspired her students to work hard and generally raised the caliber of the education program at the Bratenahl School.

On June 9, 1948, the Bratenahl community celebrated Sara Bair’s forty years with the Bratenahl School.  As reported the next day in The Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"Edward W. Garfield, mayor of Bratenahl, reviewed Miss Bair’s achievements and presented parting gifts on behalf of more than 200 friends and admirers.  Since Miss Bair joined the school staff in 1909, the original two-room schoolhouse has been replaced by a 14-room building which is regarded as a model of its type.  Fred L. Ball, who retired last January [1948] after 25 years as president of the school board also addressed the assembly and attributed much of the school’s development to Miss Bair’s efforts."

After her retirement, Bair lived with her close friend Katherine O’Grady at Bair’s family home in St. Clairsville, Ohio.  It was the home of Ohio’s first native-born governor, Wilson Shannon.  Bairs’ parents acquired the home after the Shannon family.  Katherine O’Grady was a much-loved former teacher of 36 years at Cleveland’s East High School.  As reported in The Plain Dealer in 1958:

"Neighbors refer to the two as 'Katherine and Sara,' and many think they are sisters.  Neither has any relatives so they accept this foster kinship gladly, they tell you.  The two has an apartment in Cleveland and always planned to retire here."

In early 1971, Bair worked with Nancy Coe Wixom on a history of the Bratenahl School, which was printed in a program for the Bratenahl School Scholarship Ball, held on February 13, 1971. In the history, Nancy Wixom wrote the following:

"In her forty years of service to the school, [Sara Bair] established and maintained the excellent academic reputation for which the school has been known.  Those of us who studied under her guidance remember her with great respect, fondness and appreciation."

Sara Bair died in November 1974 and is buried near her parents at Greenwood Cemetery, Bellaire, Ohio.